By Associated Press
November 2, 2021
Voters volition marque selections connected a assortment of section and authorities races Tuesday.
Voters began casting ballots crossed the U.S. aboriginal Tuesday successful the archetypal question of elections to trial caller Republican restrictions connected the ballot and springiness elections officials a accidental to antagonistic a year's worthy of misinformation astir voting security.
Officials said demonstrating secure, accordant and just practices could assistance reassure those who inactive person doubts astir past year's statesmanlike predetermination arsenic they statesman preparations for adjacent year's midterms.
"It is simply a large formal rehearsal for 2022," said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.
Much of the attraction volition beryllium connected Virginia and New Jersey, wherever voters are casting ballots for politician and different statewide races. For the remainder of the country, voters were making selections connected a assortment of section races, ranging from politician and metropolis assembly to schoolhouse committee and enslaved measures. Voters successful Maine, New York, Texas and a fewer different states were considering ballot initiatives connected a wide array of topics.
For some, the voting acquisition volition beryllium antithetic from past year, erstwhile officials implemented pandemic-related changes to marque it easier for voters to debar crowded polling places. Some states person made those changes permanent, portion others person rolled immoderate of them back.
In Virginia, lawmakers past twelvemonth expanded absentee voting permanently by nary longer requiring an excuse. But a request for a witnesser signature connected absentee ballots that was waived past twelvemonth is back, and officials person been moving to interaction voters who person been turning successful ballots without them. Those voters volition person until Friday to hole the contented oregon their ballots volition not beryllium counted.
In a fewer states, voters were encountering tighter voting rules due to the fact that of laws enacted successful states controlled politically by Republicans. Among them are Florida and Georgia, wherever voters look caller ID requirements for utilizing message ballots.
Republicans person said their changes were needed to amended information and nationalist assurance pursuing the 2020 statesmanlike election. They acted arsenic erstwhile President Donald Trump continued his mendacious claims that the predetermination was stolen contempt nary grounds of wide fraud.
These claims were rejected by judges and predetermination officials of some parties who certified the results and Trump's ain lawyer general, who said national instrumentality enforcement had not seen fraud "on a standard that could person effected a antithetic result successful the election."
Voting rights groups said assorted hotlines would beryllium disposable to assistance voters who person questions oregon brushwood problems astatine the polls oregon with their message ballots. Damon Hewitt, whose radical the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law leads the effort, said Tuesday presented an important test.
"It's a trial of voters to tally the gauntlet, to fig retired these caller rules and restrictions," Hewitt said. "And frankly, it's besides a trial of our democracy: How beardown tin it be, and are we consenting to tolerate these efforts to marque it harder for radical to vote."
Tuesday besides volition beryllium an accidental for predetermination officials to amended voters astir however the strategy works and antagonistic the misinformation that inactive surrounds the 2020 statesmanlike vote. False claims person led to harassment and adjacent decease threats against authorities and section predetermination officials.
"We person to bash much to combat it, get successful beforehand of it and frankly amended the nationalist astir the voting process," said Amber McReynolds, erstwhile Denver elections clerk and CEO of the National Vote astatine Home Institute. "Because portion of the crushed that determination is disinformation and it has been capable to travel arsenic it has, is that the immense bulk of Americans don't recognize however the predetermination process works."
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.